Monday, March 29, 2010


Here are some "Buddhists" who don't have a fucking clue what Buddhism is all about.

This story just disgusts me to no end. I have no idea what the fuck is up with these so-called "Buddhists" in Sri Lanka. But I do not represent them and I want nothing at all to do with jack-offs like this. I hope they ban my books over there too. This kind of nonsense makes me embarrassed to call myself a "Buddhist."

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (the hardline "Buddhist" ruling party in Sri Lanka) can bite me! More power to you Sarah Malini Perera. This shit makes me want to convert to Islam too!

How's that for a typical Brad Warner style reasoned argument?

ANYWAY, the 2010 Southern Dharma Retreat Center Zen retreat with Brad is now done. So let me tell you about it.

I counted 18 or 19 brave souls up there in the mountains of North Carolina. As always this was a very interesting group. People come to Zen retreats for all kinds of reasons. One woman was a born-again Christian and missionary to Africa who wanted to check out this Zen stuff. One other woman was drafted in by her friend when her friend's daughter who'd originally signed up came down with strep throat. One guy went to Woodstock. One guy was a Rinzai priest (the enemy!).

Someone asked about doing zazen retreats for the "wrong reasons" or something like that. But I don't think there are wrong reasons. If you just come along to experience three days of peace and quiet away from the job and the kids, that's just as valid as someone who's all gung-ho about The Great Way of the Buddha. Maybe more so.

It was a bit of a hard retreat for me because I caught a cold on the first day. It was all I could do to just get through all the talks and stuff without keeling over. I felt a little bad about that. To make up for my lack of energy I read the group the intro to my new book, which takes place at the Southern Dharma Retreat Center.

See, last year, just before that retreat I'd been dumped by a woman I was truly crazy about (perhaps literally so). And I was feeling pretty broke up the entire time. I figured that story would be a good intro to a book about sex and zen. The rest of the book is less personal than that. I guess that's kinda sad for all the anonymous commenters who got all worked up that the book was gonna be a big catalog of my sex life. Maybe next time.

Did I mention I got recognized by random people while I was in Austin -- twice? No? It's true. The first one was a college student on Spring Break who turned around as we waited for a light to change and asked my name. I thought he was gonna try to sell me something! Turns out he's an avid reader of this blog! I'm sorry I've forgotten your name if you're reading this. But I forget names as fast as I learn them. The next was a guy at a CVS. This is getting spooky! (Hence the photo above)(It's a joke)(The star is for H.B. Warner, a popular star of the 30s now sadly forgotten)

This weekend I'll be in Brooklyn at the Zen Center there running a retreat. There's still space available. All info is on this link here.

Then I'll be at Sheppard College in West Virginia. The date is April 8th, but I don't have the other specifics yet. Then it's on to Baltimore and following that, Richmond, Virginia. So be there or be a Sri Lankan hardline "Buddhist!"

(And this: Oh my God(zilla)!)


john e mumbles said...

Hello Suckahs!

Dillon said...

Wow No. 2

Daigan Gaither said...

That's right.. The book is all about MY sex life :)

Brad Warner said...

Re: Daigan's comment -- Folks, it actually IS!

Mysterion said...

As I previously commented about control.

One meter.

The rest doesn't matter.

If Islam is so desperate as to accept s Perera as a convert, then all Buddhists throughout the world should be praying for their survival on an hourly schedule.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

From the story you linked to, Brad, her arrest appears to be due to some violation of Sri Lanka's export laws and/or postal regulations. Many countries, including many west European countries, have very strict laws governing the import and export of items for sale. It looks like she was trying to illegally ship books out of the country without paying some kind of tax or duty or some other fee, or otherwise trying to get around some regulation she thought she could get away with getting around.

Nazism is serious business. Accusing people of Nazism should only be done for some good reason. For starters you should have some idea of what the fuck you are talking about.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

You can find more news about her if you use another spelling of her name: Sarah Malani Perera.

Also, Sri Lanka is still emerging from a little thing called a Civil War -- which lasted for more than 25 years and which cost more than 80,000 lives. The people that the Sri Lankan government were fighting against were literally the inventors if suicide bombing as we know it.

None of the news reports, including the one Brad linked to, give an official reason for her arrest. Therefore all claims that she was arrested "for offending Buddhism" are purely speculative. And screaming about NAZIS on the basis of such speculation is bullshit.

Mysterion said...

Brad is using Nazi in the metaphorical sense of the word meaning "overly authoritarian."

It is thus commonly used on the Left Coast.

Of course the German National Socialists were talking socialism while being lap dogs to the corporatists.

We have the anti-socialist party in America being the lap dogs of corporatists (e.g. the republican fascists).

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

In the UK.

john e mumbles said...

Blatant self-promotion corner:

Hey kids (sorry about the suckahs thing, I couldn't bring myself to shout out #1 like a f-in loosah), I just updated my google profile with a new pic that should amaze even Mysterion (one meter, schmeter). Just click on my blue name and all will be revealed!

Now, Alan, that's entertainment (if not attainment, schmattainment..:).

Chris said...

I'm more interested in the Christian who attended the retreat...especially a "born again" Christian who was a missionary in Africa. That's pretty hardcore. Wonder what she was looking for?

By the way, Brad...I always seem to miss you when you visit the Austin Zen Center!!! Maybe I'll run into you next year...

alan sailer said...

john e mumbles,

As a true lover of color, your new picture is glorious.

When your organ of generation causes and effects weather patterns, this is news.

(Man there are so many puns in that sentence I am proud).


To prove that I like color, type my non-anonymous name into google and follow the first link. Self promotion to no point whatsoever.

john e mumbles said...

Wow! Bee-uti-Full photos, Alan! I only perused the front page but will take more time and look.

Thanks so much. Very Cool!

Michael Gibbs said...

Wow! Never thought I'd hear about Buddhist fundamentalist. That is really fucked up!

Mr. Reee said...


The idea that a country could elevate Buddhism to a national religion is one thing. The fact that buddhists who arguably should know better could go along with that dicta is entirely another thing...

Mr. Reee said...

On the other hand--delusion is delusion, and no one is exempt.

Mumon said...

The Sri Lankans are not alone.

Ever go to Thailand and make bawdy jokes about their royalty in a public forum?

Lucius Bobikiewicz said...

About the Rinzais being the enemy..

An old zen monk one day told me: "The Christian idea about loving your enemy is a joke. The real challenge is to love your brother" :)

We here sometimes get in touch with the rinzais. Just some weeks ago they invited us (the Soto guys) for together watching the Dogen movie at their place.

Brad Warner said...


An interesting point. I did take the news story at face value, and maybe I should question it. It would be interesting if this turned out to be a big PR stunt by the author.

But the very existence of something that can be called a "hardline Buddhist government" is ... I just have no words for how absurd that sounds.

Also, the article title is a reference to the old Dead Kennedys song "Nazi Punks Fuck Off". The DKs were not accusing the punks of actually being Nazis, but of acting like fascists.

Steven said...

Honest, the last 13 years has been Soto all the way! (Was facing the inside of the room while being time keeper that is "Rinziaesque"?)

It was a very intimate Sesshin. I mailed my application to Great Sky Sesshin. I will get an extra can of "spray on Soto" from Target.

Allison said...

I'm floored that such a thing as "hardline Buddhist nationalists" actually exist. I never would have guessed.

BTW, I'm friends with your pal Sean Saley - I told him you were coming to town (Wash DC area), and he said drop him a line...


Apuleius Platonicus said...

Concerning Sarah Malini Perera: It's true that the article looks very bad on the face of it. But I am by nature paranoid, and when I see a news item that tries to make Buddhists look bad I automatically assume Opus Dei is behind it.

So far there is still very little information, at least in English, available about what is really going on. And as far as I can tell, no one had ever heard of this "author" until a couple days ago.

Sarah Malini Perera has lived in Bahrain, where she converted to Islam, since 1985. In Bahrain Islam is the official state religion. Shia Muslims are the majority, but the country is dominated politically and economically by Sunni Muslims. All religious groups in Bahrain must obtain a license from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. All anti-Islamic writings are prohibited by law in Bahrain. Women only received the right to vote and to stand in elections in 2002 in Bahrain (in Sri Lanka women got the right to vote in 1931, just 11 years after the US).

If Sri Lanka is home to "Buddhist Fundamentalism" then we need to develop a whole new vocabulary for talking about Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it nice of the Sri Lankans to show how any religion, even Buddhism, can be used as an excuse to oppress and judge others.

Corey said...

i don't think this a new occurence though, right? didn't buddhists support hirohito during world war 2?

also, taoism had a huge military cult in china called the yellow turban sect, and if taoists can go fundamentalist, any religion can.

john e mumbles said...

I had a Dead Kennedy's T-shirt back in the day that said "Too Drunk To Fuck". The DK's never intended that people take the message literally, just a public service announcement pointing out a potential occupational hazard.

Anonymous said...

well that takes care of birth control

and no need for the morning after pill either

Lucifer Sam said...

We here sometimes get in touch with the rinzais. Just some weeks ago they invited us (the Soto guys) for together watching the Dogen movie at their place

OMG! Dont you know?
Once you go Rinzai
You never go back!

Everglade1 said...

All organized religions seem like a scam to me, even the Buddhist ones. Some of the most beautiful places on earth are ruined by religious nonsense.

Ever think about putting out another D-13 album Brad?

Anonymous said...

hey john e...

I've had an interest in historical alchemy. Cool that you've written a book.

Do you know where the phrase "As Above So Below" originates? I thought I had read that it came out of an alchemical tradition.

Anonymous said...

from experience
coming down with a cold at the beginning of a sesshin sucks
the good part: sesshin (aside from samu and being tenzo helper is sitting quietly
and at the end of a 7 day sesshin
your cold is gone!
(bust be buddhist healing bajic!) (said while blowing nose)

Apuleius Platonicus said...

a "too drunk to fuck" t-shirt? now THAT is awesome.

"holiday in cambodia ...
everybody dressed in BLACK!"

Anonymous said...

In general, crowds throwing rocks at someone, regardless of their religion scares me.

theres a whole lot of folks calling themselves buddhists in the world who may or may not actually know what the fuck they are talking about. Including me.

It was my understanding that while certain buddhists in japan supported the military regime in the 1930's that the regime itself made Shinto the official and sole state religion out of a fear that Buddhism would make it harder to whip up the kind of fanatical nationalism needed to conduct a 10+ year war.

john e mumbles said...

Yeah, I cut the sleeves off, and the neck out, back then you had to make your own modifications, rips and tears and safety pin chic hadn't been co-opted by Wal-Mart (and Green Day -snap!) yet.

re; Anonymous said..."as above so below" -a whole appendix in my book is dedicated to the completely apocryphal info on that one. It IS the most famous alchemical phrase and basically sums up the whole thing nicely...

Ray Neel said...

Just a note of thanks to Brad...

What a great retreat. It was nice to talk the "nuts and bolts" of Just Sitting with someone in the know. I actually woke up Monday morning and was sad that I wouldn't be spending 5 hours staring at the wall of a zendo.

If we're talking about the same person, I think the Christian at the retreat wound up there by accident, due to someone pulling out at the last minute due to sickness. I don't think that she participated much in the sitting.

Jinzang said...

It looks like she was trying to illegally ship books out of the country without paying some kind of tax or duty or some other fee.

Usually there's a duty or tax when importing, not when exporting. Most countries want to export as much as possible. So this explanation doesn't make sense to me.

Jinzang said...

was sad that I wouldn't be spending 5 hours staring at the wall of a zendo.

Five hours a day of zazen isn't much for a seshin. Did Brad fill up the rest of the time with talks, or did you take long walks in the woods?

Brad Warner said...

Ray -- wrong Christian! One of them sat the whole darn thing!

anon #108 said...

5 or 6 hours zazen, with talks, meals, and time for walks in the woods is a pretty typical Dogen Sangha retreat, Jinz. (They're not silent either).

Ray Neel said...

It was a retreat that was open to novices, and as such, the amount of time spent in the meditation hall was about my opinion, at least. :-)

Thanks for the clarification, Brad..I was only aware of the lady that spoke up during introductions.

Jinzang said...

Someone who thinks Buddhism is tolerant and has never persecuted other religions isn't very familiar with their history.

Mysterion said...

In California (a different world) Jesuits who had 'lost their faith' would join Zen Retreats throughout the 70s. It's a kind of 'don't ask, don't tell' thing but, out here on the left coast, a lot of former Xtians use Buddhism as a one-step recovery program.

It's no secret that perhaps 1/3 of the cardinals have lost their faith.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon". source

Near the end of her life, Mother Teressa was an atheist.

Mother Teresa - Lived as a Saint, died as an Atheist

Bless her sacred heart, she woke up!

In the meantime, are you guys getting door-to-door Xtian promotion-bots 3 times a week like we are out here? DESPERATION.

I'm not anti-rattlesnake...

Mrs. Beulah Bucklen, 59, of Charleston, W. Va., died last night, eight days after being bitten twice by a rattlesnake in a snake-handling ritual at Jesus Pentecostal Church at Frazier's Bottom in Putman County, near Charleston. Roscoe Bucklen, her husband, said he persuaded her to seek medical attention when she became violently iii the day after being bitten. Bucklen, who was sitting in his car outside the church when his wife was bitten, said: "I've seen that snake before. It's as big around as your arm. It hit her twice between the thumb and forefinger on the left hand. They had to pull the fangs from her."
(Ft. Worth Star Telegram Sept. 25, 1972) 20-C.

Darwinism at work, and play.

anon #108 said...

This looks like fun. Absolutely LOADSA stuff about mean, vicious Buddhists.

john e mumbles said...

1972 ??!! What the hell, have all the snake handlers gone to the rattler rapture? SALVATION ON SAND MOUNTAIN is an incredible read, for anyone curious about this very extreme form of Xtian worship. Also, HOLY GHOST PEOPLE, a film about snake fondlers and poison drinkers that I think parts of are on Youtube...SSSSssssssssssssssss......

Steven said...

Jinzang, are you arguing that Toyotomi Hideyoshi's ban on Christianity was because he was a Buddhist? From my reading, he was concerned by the Europeans who insisted upon combining business with Christian missionary activity, and he increasingly came to view such activity as dangerous and subversive both to his own rule and to Japanese society in general. Originally, Nobunaga had actually encouraged the foreign missionaries, owing probably to his desire to check the militant Buddhist sects that opposed him.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Allison said...
I'm floored that such a thing as "hardline Buddhist nationalists" actually exist. I never would have guessed.

Don't be floored. This is a reaction to the invasion of Islam. Fundie Xtianity and Fundie Islam share dualism. They are right and any and all others are wrong.

1972 - Ceylon changes its name to Sri Lanka and Buddhism given primary place as country's religion, further antagonising Tamil (Hindu) minority.

the Tamils of Ceylon

Strictly speaking, the Tamil (Vel) people invaded Ceylon from the North. Ceylon was originally a land of the Dravidians. Archeology has confirmed this a number of times over during the last 50 years.


So there is a conflict between those who were long ago invaded and those who invaded 2,300 years ago.

Same everywhere. Everywhere, the same.

Ist das nicht richtig?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

Or they're not "in the spirit" or whatever. Regardless, it takes balls of steel to pick up and hold a huge pissed off timber rattler and dance around with a bunch of other people shouting and clapping and stomping their feet "in the spirit."

It strikes me that 100 reported cases is not all that many...besides, this is something the Hopi people have done for millennia to ensure rain for their corn harvest. My old alchemy teacher Jean Dubuis used to say "Big trouble equals big reward."

And John Lennon sang "whatever gets you through the night."

It's alright, it's alright.

alan sailer said...

To whom it may concern,

For a bunch of people who sit around staring at a blank wall for a significant portion of their lives, casting aspersions on people who dance around with snakes seems kind of strange.

The snake stuff at least sounds kind of interesting.

It might even be more dangerous:-)



Mysterion said...

all right, I deleted snake bites.

Dakhinathupa in Anuradhapura is currently identified by archeologists as a Buddhist temple and NOT the mythical tomb of 2nd century BCE Tamil king Elara.

When a new culture arrives, they claim that the preexisting stuff was theirs. The Aztecs claimed Olmec structures, the Xtians claimed Mithraic and Ptolemic stuff, Islam claimed the Hindu (Qube - Kaaba).

Chinese Buddhism - and its Japanese offspring - are somewhat distant from the Pali Tripitaka. After all, China had to integrate Taoism and the remnants of Confucianism into their Buddhist Traditions. And both Jodo Shu(Pure Land) and Jodo Shinshu (New Pure Land) introduce a Christianized 'heaven' concept where none exists upstream.

One day, I plan to introduce "New, Improved Pure Land Buddhism." But first I must decide on the art work and logo.

How about:
"Marked improvement in liturgy does not disturb famous Buddhist simplicity."

Sai said...

Islam is like the borg. Once the followers reach a certain size they wipe out all other religions. Could Brad do what he is doing in any country with Muslim majority? It was the growth of Islam that led to destruction of several buddhist centers in different parts of Asia. No other religion is allowed to operate freely in Islamic countries. Even Zazen will be banned. Then what will you do?

Anonymous said...

Buddhism's like the Borg too. So many times in dharma talks I've heard the sentiment "resistance is futile".

anon #108 said...

On behalf of my previous link to vicious Buddhists, I apologise for the many dead links therein - but if you're keen and persistent you'll find many that do work, and seem to confirm this to be true.

Mysterion said...

In islamic countries, you sit ZAZEN on the toilet.

oxeye said...

Alan, I could look at your photos all day.. Really interesting!

anon #108 said...

And for the ladies...

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Xtian fundies have the same concept for America - forced conversion to the Xtian religion (which is borrowed from Buddhism).

There is plenty of ignorance to go around.

"A careful comparison, word by word, sentence by sentence shows that the Christian Gospels are Pirate-copies of the Buddhist Gospels. God's word, therefore, is originally Buddha's word."

alan sailer said...


Thanks, but don't waste your day:-)

It's only entertainment. I know for an absolute fact that the only reason they have any appeal at all is their novelty.

If more people were doing this kind of stuff, it would be a huge yawn.

I read someone who was quoting Susan Sontag on photography to the effect that the first person who took a picture of Half Dome had it easy.

Any photograph would hold great excitement.

The following photographers have the harder job, to re-imagine a scene that becomes more and more known with each new photograph.

Saw your work. You are doing exciting things with color. I'll have to show it to my wife, she is the Rothko fangirl in the family.


mtto said...

I've done zazen in Jordan, which is a predominantly Muslim country. I had a conversation about Buddhism in the hotel restaurant late at night (one of the other musicians in the orchestra asked me.) Also, I saw THIS internet cafe.

There are Christians and Jews in Jordan, so I imagine there could be some Buddhists, but there might not be any.

CynicalBoy said...

Challenge everything
A snake? A hundred foot pole?
Belief's a killer!

proulx michel said...

jinzang said
Someone who thinks Buddhism is tolerant and has never persecuted other religions isn't very familiar with their history.
I don't feel it is quite right to make that confusion. A military dictator sensing that and foreign enemy is invading the country through religious propaganda is not really likely to let it go at that. The Tokugawa's Buddhism was really quite opportunistic.

Mysterion said...

You know the old Buddhist saying:

""Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity."

The moment fighting starts, peace is lost. A generation after the fighting stops, peace may be restored - unless the parents teach their children bigotry.


Jinzang said...

Hideyoshi ... came to view such activity as dangerous and subversive both to his own rule and to Japanese society in general.

That's the usual argument that nationalists use: one nation, one people, one religion. I understand the argument, but don't expect me to approve of it.

Jinzang said...

This looks like fun.

The Trimondis are not a valid source of information about Tibetan Buddhism. For example, they write this:

The Buddhist monks, who are usually subject to a strict, puritanical-seeming set of rules, cultivate such “breaches of taboo” without restriction, once they have decided to follow the “Diamond Path”. Excesses and extravagances now count as part of their chosen lifestyle. Such acts are not simply permitted, but are prescribed outright, because according to tantric doctrine, evil can only be driven out by evil, greed by greed alone, and poison is the only cure for poison.

This is caricature, if not outright slander, not sober analysis.

Brad Warner said...

There is at least one Buddhist in Jordan right now. Her name is Katy.

anon #108 said...

The Trimondis are not a valid source of information about Tibetan Buddhism.

Oooh! My link! Let me defend it!

From the brief tour I made of their site, Jinz, it is clear that the Trimondis have an agenda: "Buddhism - if it will become congruent with western values like democracy, human rights, equality of gender etc. must be “reinvented” The condition therefore is an open, critical and honest debate", they write.

Acknowledging the less-than-useful activities that have been called 'Buddhist' is surely a good thing. But as all agendas emphasise one side at the expense of another, you may well be right that, in this case, they've misrepresented Tibetan Buddhism. There again, you don't give a context for your quote...were they seeking to summarise ALL Tibetan Buddhist practice in that one passage or just one aspect of tantra?

The site links to very many articles - must be over 50, by no means all written by the Trimondis - which I think are useful in challenging our wishful thinking about "Buddhism" as a world religion...many of which back up your original point:

Someone who thinks Buddhism is tolerant and has never persecuted other religions isn't very familiar with their history.

proulx michel said...

Jinzang said...

Hideyoshi ... came to view such activity as dangerous and subversive both to his own rule and to Japanese society in general.

That's the usual argument that nationalists use: one nation, one people, one religion. I understand the argument, but don't expect me to approve of it.

It seems that the Japanese came to this conclusion also from news of what the Spanish and Portuguese had done to local cultures where they had triumphed. And Tokugawa Japan was not "one people, one religion". But with Spanish rule, they sure would have been.

Ran K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ran K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ran K. said...

I haven't read much of the comments but I came upon M's quote: "Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity".

I think virginity is usually produced by only one means.

Else than this I think we’ve been there before.

Somewhat before Jundo.

I’m sure a few can still recall. Hasn’t been that long.

Or it has been quite long, in a way.

Glen said...

To the poster who seemed concerned about Islam wiping out be honest from what i hear in most places (mainly in Asia), it's the 'Buddhists' who are wiping put Buddhism. As Thich Nhat Hanh says - if he had to choose between peace or Buddhism being wiped out, he'd sacrifice Buddhism; as he points out, real 'Buddhism' is in the heart and mind of people, not in massive congregations, temples, monasteries and all that.

john e mumbles said...

As above, so below.

k said...

Then Thich Nhat Hanh is an idiot, as peace does not equate to the end of suffering.

Extremist Islam is a cancer that should be scalded with boiling water, and that women is a proponent of it.

jehannie said...

Oh Brad, sick 'em!
You are quite dashing in that pic by the Hwood star!! :)

Anonymous said...

Any more details on the event at Sheppard College in West Virginia? April 8th is tomorrow and I would definitely be interested in attending.

john e mumbles said...

AHEM!! As Above, So Below! Respect!!

Shakuntaladevi said...

Well said

danielclough said...

I was reading the Dhammapada when I heard about the trouble in Sri Lanka. I hope the JHU finds time to reflect on scripture in the midst of their troubles.

I don't know much about the Zen school, but your use of language seems to suggest klesha. I have heard that the Tibeatn can speak and act with a foul manner without klesha. I can't. :D

Righteous indignation is hypocrisy, are you the same as the JHU?

Be Well!

Anonymous said...

fuck u bitches